Bach Stylistic Questions

Discussion in 'EC Downloading' started by josephus07, Sep 8, 2007.

  1. josephus07

    josephus07 Pianissimo User

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    Hi Ed, I'm trying to do a study of orchestral trumpet style as it relates to specific time periods, composers, and pieces.

    I'm starting with Bach and I was wondering if you or anyone wanted to chime in with their thoughts. I was just listening to your recording "The Trumpet Resounding" (which is great) and I wonder if solo Baroque playing differs significantly from orchestral Baroque playing...also, I'm wondering if Baroque trumpet playing differed significantly based on country/region.

    For my study of Bach, I'm looking at the Orchestral Suite No. 3. I have 1964 Breitkopf and Hartel parts.

    I've already come up with some of my own answers to the following questions but I wanted to hear the input of others.

    1. My part has no dynamics indicated. Who would you personally balance to or how would you decide if your part should be prominent or not? Obviously, some of this can be deciphered from the texture of the whole orchestral score at any point, but composers certainly can make unexpected requests. Are there any general "rules" you follow pertaining to Bach's writing?

    2. In general, when there is no indication, do you play notes very full/long or separated/short (duration) and how much decay/sustain do you prefer (or how do you prefer the notes to be shaped)? Any thoughts on bounce, lift, etc?

    3. How much front would you place on notes / what articulation syllable do you generally prefer for Bach?

    4. Are there any special considerations to take into account in regards to direction of line and phrasing?

    5. When performing Bach on a modern piccolo trumpet, do you try to emulate any natural trumpet qualities?

    6. We always talk about playing needing to have a vocal quality. Are there any significant stylistic differences between Baroque singing style and that of other eras?

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
     
  2. ecarroll

    ecarroll Artist in Residence Staff Member

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    Good to hear from you, David. I'll do my best with these and thanks for mentioning that old recording (!)

    Lastly, I NEVER ornament Bach's music. It's too perfect as it is.

    Best and don't be a stranger here,
    EC
     
  3. Jimi Michiel

    Jimi Michiel Forte User

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    Ed-

    When you say that you never ornament Bach's music, do you mean that you never ad ornamentation? He did write some into his work, didn't he?

    -Jimi
     
  4. ecarroll

    ecarroll Artist in Residence Staff Member

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    Jimi,

    Bach decorates many lines. I can't do it better so I never add a thing.

    Now Telemann and some Italian composers...that's another story!

    Best,
    EC
     
  5. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    I had the chance to hang with Rilling's trumpeters while in Germany, and they take a no-nonsense, straight-forward approach to playing Bach.

    First of all, they assume Bach knew the trumpet and trumpet players, so he wouldn't write for it if he didn't intend for it to sound like a trumpet--he had plenty of recorder players around.

    Secondly, they never ornamented. Never. Bach's ornaments are written in the music, so there is no need.

    Based on Bach's and Luther's theology, the trumpet represented angels, and these weren't those cute fat little cupid imitations--we're talking about the real deal--scary angels!

    There is no need to over-analyze when playing Bach the German way. Play with good rhythm, intonation and intuition, and the rest will take care of itself. Viel Spass!
     
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    VBs experience matches mine!
    Remember, Bach did not write a concerto for 3 trumpets with orchestra and choir accompaniment!
    The Cantatas are another story, there the solo trumpet often has a voice equal (no more, no less) to the vocal soloist. You need to articulate as if you were singing!
     
  7. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    Oops, I forgot the style thing--phrase like Mozart (only an octave higher), with what I can best describe as "feminine" phrase endings. German conductors like it when the trumpets "evaporate" as they go higher, which really can cut back on the number of violist jumps during a concert.
     
  8. ecarroll

    ecarroll Artist in Residence Staff Member

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    VB,

    The above broke me up.

    I once played the h molle Messe with Rilling, by the way. He was pretty good.

    Grüß,
    EC
     
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I know some cute, fat, scary trumpet players too! Not all are suitable for playing Bach though!

    The remark about evaporating as you go higher is a myth started years ago by some second rate trumpet players that didn't have any high range and found a way to sell it. The violists were greatful and the rest is history!
     
  10. wiseone2

    wiseone2 Artitst in Residence Staff Member

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    Casals stressed the long melodic lines in the Suites. The trumpets were punctuation, we were there but not disturbing the flow of the music.
    Think ensemble, not "Bugler's Holiday" when playing Bach;-)
    Wilmer
     

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